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ideas anyone?


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Hello everyone - I have just discovered this forum! it's a breath of fresh air that all this information is available. I only wish we knew about it sooner.

My Mum & Dad own a minilab and have been really finding it hard going recently. Business has slowed and they are no longer getting the same support they used to from the supplier. It's certainly not like whenI used to work in the shop during University holidays ten years ago. I guess those days are long gone.

I work in the City and promised to see what resources there might be to help them get their business on track. After a quick search I found this site - wonderful!

Others must be/have been in this position? I wondered if anyone has found either government agencies or private companies that can help. I am sure they just need some coaching or a bit of support. Any ideas would be appreciated.


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The general consensus of opinion is probably that you need to replace the wonderful turnover we used to get from film with something. Certainly printing of digital files instead of film has been of some help, but this area has been knocked around by mass merchandisers and CE retailers who seem to have used it as a means to get people into their stores. So that area isn't as promising as it should be.

So the next step is to look at what else there is to make money.

There is certainly a growing market in scanning old slides and prints.Either to CD or to new hard copies. And along that line copying movie and video images to DVD is also growing.

Many stores use wide format inkjet machines to print Canvas and other large prints. Many stores make photobooks,calendars, greeting cards and there are a large range of gift items than can be made in store. Starting with mugs and T-shirts and the list goes on and on. Passport photos are a great money earner. We are seeing good growth in selling cameras and memory cards and all the stuff which goes with that. But you have to be buying the cameras at the right price to sell well.

Like any business the trick with all of this is deciding which areas to get into, which areas to outlab and which areas to ignore. And you can only do this by looking at the competition in your area. I guess it is the usual SWOT analysis that you can apply to any business.

We get good support and feedback from our suppliers but that is not as easy for them to do in these tough times. There are no doubt all sorts of consultants in your region but it can pay to look all around the world as communication these days is easy. First Retail in New Zealand do provide support to photolabs all over the place and it might be worth having a chat with them. www.firstretail.co.nz I think is their website.

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  • 2 weeks later...

sounds like they should consider Kodak Express or Fuji Image Service as a source of support. tjhough some of us are scepticle about it - it is a good kick start. it's possible that they are all ready members and this is the lack of support youre mentioning. - like the other comments i find a lot of ideas in other businesses and their websites. www.grovers.biz

how many kiosks do they have?

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I think the key is to become a destination specialist.

4x6 photos can be thought of as a traffic generating loss leader - but they are now a commodity, - and the chains will always be cheaper.

You need to add speciality lines that the big boys cannot compete with, - and my favourite is garment personalisation and photo gifts.

Cost of entry is maybe £4000 for everything to print all types of garments, hats, mugs, placemats, badges etc, - and being able to offer same day service is somthing that only your store will be able to offer, - so will not be very price sensitive.

visit http://www.themagictouch.co.uk/index.htm to get some ideas.


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Welcome to the forum! Hope you find some ideas and help here.

This is my website, which may give you some ideas. I have been diversifying away from conventional D&P and find (like has been said above) that DVD transfer, gifts and canvases are good to get into. I'm about to bring Garment printing on line along with Vinyl signs/ lettering etc.

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Hi everyone this is our set up for DVD,8mm film,Vhs,Dvc,8mm tape all in the one area.

We project 8mm film on a screen then record with a canon fs100 and a 4gb card this is perfect for 1 Dvd. All the reels are then recorded to the card and a quick edit for each reel,approx 28-34 50ft reels to a dvd. We use power producer that came with the canon fs100 for the edit and joining of the movies then burn as  Dvd ready to play.

For all the other we use a panasonic DMR-Ess35v with a 3 year warranty as it does get alot of use burning dvds.

This week alone i have done 22 50ft reels and 18 400ft reels which is great when you are quiet.We do not offer sound on the 8mm film or editing of the movies bar the begining and the end to remove the blank areas.Or charges are $7.50 for 50ft reels more than 1

$20.00 for 400ft reels. Once you have got the first one set up ie: Focus,colour,capture size,

it is very simple after that.If there is only 1 50ft reel the cost is $20.00 because the set up is what takes the time. also if there is more than one reel try 2 or 3 to see which is the sharpest as the quaility of some can be shocking.

We always mark the reels that are not sharp and show the customer also.

We explain to them how is done and if they have time give a quick demo of there films on the Tv screen

We have the camera recording as well showing on the Tv srceen so we can see the film as it is recording to pick up on any problems during tapeing.

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Yes the quaility is fine as long as the films are good and you do a good set up at the begining,when buying the projector check that it also does standard 8 as some projectors do not do both as for our projector it is just a canon s-400 and does super 8 and regular 8.as for the sound that can be done if they ask as it a simple thing to add.

we have just completed today 18 50ft reels, 10 200ft reels,and 6 150ft reels that took 4dvds to record then when the guy came back and looked at a couple of the dvds he ordered 3 more copies of each total job $550.00 not bad for 11 hours work especially during the of season when things are quiet. the only cost is the dvd and inside covers for the dvds.

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